After two important days for the GC, it is now time for the second sprint of the race.
A flat stage.
Straight forward, with a right turn 750 meters out. Wide roads, nice asphalt.
It will be a headwind sprint.
Winds around 5 m/s from the NW/W. First 65 km are cross-tailwind. Then mainly a cross-headwind until the finishline. A warmer day too with 26 degrees C. Shouldn’t cause echelons.
Merlier – launched almost 250 meters out and still beat Ewan in the sprint. That is some sprint. He hasn’t got the strongest sprint train here, but they are more than capable to fight for another stage win.
Ewan – took the wheel of Merlier, the battle for position was not that tense in the small group. As always, he can struggle to find a good wheel. What’s good news for him is the headwind sprint, it favors sitting a bit further down. Then he just has to find open space which is difficult with so many quality sprinters here.
Cavendish – he and Bol almost got it perfect the first stage. It is a short sprint train, but he has the speed to contest for another podium spot.
Kooij – had to go very wide in the first sprint, then half blocked by Bauhaus and gave up finishing fourth. He is quick. Jumbo-Visma need to sit back a little and move up with Roosen and TvdS after the corner, not taking to much wind too early.
Bennett – missed the split on stage 1. He has a fantastic sprint train but tomorrow is a bit more about patience. Starting your sprint from the front in a 5 m/s headwind is not the best idea. They know this, they will likely jump very late.
Groenewegen – got the biggest train. Mezgec is excellent, but I doubt he can win with this competition. I see them taking the front too early, only to get swamped inside the last 400 meters.
Gaviria – another who missed the split on stage 1. Not a lot of help, it will be difficult.
Demare – don’t think he is quick enough.
Viviani – a good wheel surfer. In his prime, he was one of the best to time the sprint perfectly. It can be very usefull for him tomorrow.
Bauhaus – cocked up his sprint on stage 1. Decided not to draft from Merlier and Ewan, instead taking a seated sprint 250 meters out. If he rides smarter, he could challenge for the podium.
Welsford – has to mentioned. Very much on his own. If he finds the right wheel of the day, he can win.
Who will win?
A headwind sprint is difficult. Normally, sitting further back would not be a problem for you to benefit from drafting in the sprint. On the other hand, we have 15 sprinters who all think they can win the stage. There will not be enough space for everyone.
Therefore, having a good lead-out man and a good sprint train is still the key for me. It is all about the timing. I will once again go for Sam Bennett, he has the best lead-out rider here and well-organized train.